I’m far too young to write this post because we are the same age and she was far too young to leave this world.
Tuesday morning, I received a call from a dear sorority sister to tell me she was gone.
I hung up the phone and picked my broken heart up off the ground – a mama heart bleeding for the two young girls who shouldn’t have to say good-bye to their mother quite yet.
Shock and disbelief swirl around me and I turn my gears to autopilot until I can get home to the safety of a shower where the tears can flow.
Upon returning, I get the youngest squared away, plug my phone into the speakers and hit the song I know will remind me of His greatness.
It begins to play and the warm water envelopes me into a much-needed embrace of safety. I listen and I talk.
Out tumble two stubborn words that emerge when I can’t make sense of what happens in this world:
It’s the cornerstone argument of an atheist, you know.
“If God is so good, then why doesn’t He stop the heartbreak of these two little girls? What kind of loving God does this?”
He reminds me that I would have thought the same thing just thirteen short years ago.
And He is so patient because we’ve talked this through before, He and I. He knows I’ll beat my fists in the air and beg for Jesus to come back RIGHT NOW. It’s part of the dance we do when I’m angry with Him. Sad. Broken-hearted. Ready to throw things.
So often when someone passes away, others exaggerate their relationship with the deceased so I will admit she wasn’t my best friend. But she was indeed a dear friend.
While we met in 1993 on Bid Night at the Pi Phi house of Indiana University, I later moved to her hometown. She was the only person I knew.
She held my hand for a while but then, we were in different life stages – her children are older and mine still cling to my leg.
I settled in to nap schedules and meals and sleepless nights and just plain surviving and life happened to us both.
But I knew she would drop everything if I needed her. That’s just who she was.
Her warm smile illuminated the contents of her heart and exhibited a rare and stunning physical beauty – rare because the combination of beauty on the inside and out is somewhat of an anomaly these days.
Not to mention she was tough – she had the courage to face relentless demons in the eyes each and every day.
Six months ago, she started to go back to church. She got involved in Sunday School. She recommitted her life to Him.
As I recover from my snit with God and allow the warm water to wash over my shoulders, I understand.
Our all-knowing God didn’t make this happen, but He knew it would happen so he issued an invitation. Tammy was wise enough to accept.
Isn’t that just like Him? He pulls us up out of the messy pit and tells us we’re worth it, reiterates we aren’t too broken, reminds us we don’t have to get well before we follow Him because we follow Him to get well.
His Son was sent for the sick.
And while I mourn her loss for the sake of the sweet daughters she leaves behind and feel sadness over the absence she will leave when us Pi Phi’s get together, I rejoice in her choice to accept that invitation.
Because now . . . demons no longer relentlessly pursue her.
She is free from pain and she doesn’t have to worry about a thing.
She is whole and complete and experiencing the pure joy and peace that can only come from being with Him.
And based on her personality, I’m positive she’s got the angels in stitches.
Until we meet again, sweet Tammy. I am better for having known you.
Hugs, and prayers.
Beautiful tribute to her!! She was so loved by so many.
I’ll never forget that big beautiful smile or that infectious laugh. I’m smiling right now thinking about you, Hooper! Too all the great times and memories… We love you. G
Thinking of you and her family during this time. Your words always melt my heart, your such a loving and caring person. God Bless you
This is wonderful and I thank you for sharing your very intimate thoughts. This helps tremendously….
God is working through you in that beautiful tribute. May it comfort all of those whose lives she touched and is will continue to change by having the privilege of knowing her in her short life. Praying for the family
Brought me to tears! Thank you for this wonderful message.
This was beautiful to read. Thank you for sharing your heart, as always.
wasn't this so good? I pray her daughters can read this some day.
Beautifully written. Her friends and family will be in my thoughts and prayers.
<3 Our prayers go out for you and your frinds Family!!! <3
Very beautifully written.
So beautifully written…just right. Her daughters are the ones I worry about..losing a Mommy at such a young age. And then I think, Tamara was tough so they must be tough enough, too. God bless you, Ellie and Hunter. Always know that you are loved (and most of all) loved by your sweet Mama.
Great write up. I so appreciate your words and thoughts into this tribute to Tammy. Her demons are forever gone and that brings me peace too. I know her girls will need our love and support too during this time and I hope their dad will take them to church to follow in the path Tammy had recently discovered before passing on Monday. RIP, Tammy
Beautifully written. You too have a blessing from God. Thank you for sharing.
Nicely written. Gone way too soon…
Beautifully written. Tammy left such an imprint on so many people with that gorgeous smile and personality. She will be missed dearly.
This is a beautiful tribute for a beautiful woman. Thank you for sharing.
Incredibly beautiful and well said letter. I can't imagine she could want for anything more said about her. Bless her little girls!
So beautifully written. Thank you!!!
So sorry Trish!!!
Thanks for posting, it really encapsulates everything I've been feeling. We will miss you Tammy. RIP
None of this is black and white. Probably the most important variables lie within the individual. Addiction itself isn't so much an affliction as it is a manifestation of several underlying afflictions. Addiction can take on a life of it's own, but it still has underlying causes that put it there in the first place. It's a symptom of something else. And that something else is what needs to be treated. The problem is that that something else isn't the same thing for everyone. Church may work for some. Church may kill others. The beauty of AA and 12-step recovery is that it (and I use the term "it" to describe the structure of AA as a whole, not what certain members say or do in meetings) is probably the least dogmatic of solutions. That's not to say that the typical meeting isn't dogmatic as hell (especially around here), but that the structure of AA as a whole allows for and must tolerate dissenting opinions. You can be a devout Christian in AA, a Buddhist, or (god forbid!!) even an atheist.
Mike Reed, I agree with you completely. I am not approving this conversation on the blog and if I could take it down here on FB I would – not because I don't agree with the First Amendment (because obviously, as a writer, I do) but more out of respect to my friend's family who is grieving horribly. I absolutely agree in professional help for addiction – no one here is saying just go to church and pray about it. Yes, some people actually are healed this way but some are not and need a combination of both. However, I think it's critical to remember if you are going to engage in a tough topic, such as this, being considerate and not hateful generates a more positive discussion. Calling people ignorant because they believe something different from you is actually well . . . ignorant. I hear your point, Brian, but this message needs to be cloaked in a little more compassion. And for the record, she did indeed seek professional addiction help.
No matter what has happened in her life or any of our lives, the only thing that matters is that we give our heart, mind, and soul to God, Everything else is personal between her family, friends, and God. I pray those close to her continue to love her and keep her memories close, rejoicing in the good she did on this Earth.
I’m so glad she gave her life to the Lord. It’s sad she is gone way too soon, but the Lord will use her now in ways we can not imagine. I guess the important thing to remember is any one of us can go at any time. Give our lives to the Lord before it’s too late, mend and nuture our relationships here while we can, and love others everyday- letting our loved ones know that they are loved instead of assuming they know you love them.
I’m am so sorry for the family’s loss. Remember the good in her and forgive the bad.